The National Geographic Society Education Foundation named Congresswoman Mazie K. Hirono of Hawai’i as a Geography Legislator of the Year for her steadfast support for improving K-12 geography education.
“Geography is more than where countries are located on the map; we are formed by the lands we inhabit,” said US Rep. Hirono. “As an island people, we have a unique perspective and a close relationship with our ‘aina. We are also a multicultural people, with close familial ties to many of the nations of Asia and the Pacific,” she said.
Congresswoman Hirono, who is a member of the House Education and the Workforce Committee said we need to make sure that young people are prepared to succeed on the world stage. “Geography education is central to working with people from other states and other countries. It also helps us better understand our own special corner of the world. That’s why I support strengthening geography education and why I am so humbled to receive this award.”
“At a time when studies show that students in the United States are falling further behind their counterparts around the world in this core academic subject, geography educators are looking to Congress to champion their cause,” said Gilbert Grosvenor, National Geographic Society chairman emeritus.
“Congresswoman Hirono has ably stepped up to the challenge and for all her efforts, the National Geographic Education Foundation thanks her,” he said.
To strengthen geography education through teacher training and curriculum development, Congresswoman Hirono has co-sponsored the Teaching Geography is Fundamental Act, H.R. 885. She is also credited with championing quality early childhood education to help make sure our keiki start school ready to learn.
The Geography Legislator of the Year Award was presented at the National Geographic Society’s headquarters in Washington, DC.
Hawaii Senior Senator Daniel K. Inouye, University of Hawaii professor Dr. Jeffrey Moniz, who serves as the Coordinator of the Hawaii Geography Alliance, and Isla Young, Program Director at Maui Economic Development Board, also attended the award ceremony.